Knocking On The Gates Of Hell – the real Pope

By   /   March 14, 2013  /   7 Comments

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“In St Peter’s Square and throughout Latin America there was rejoicing. Born in Argentina, Bergoglio is the first non-European Pope to be elected since the Eighth Century. And yet, in spite of the new pontiff’s origins, there will be many among the ecstatic crowds thronging the streets of Buenos Aries who harbour the deepest misgivings.”

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JUST HOURS AFTER 77 New Zealand MPs voted for Louisa Wall’s Gay Marriage Bill, at least 77 Cardinals voted for the 77-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Enough to make him Pope Francis I.

In St Peter’s Square and throughout Latin America there was rejoicing. Born in Argentina, Bergoglio is the first non-European Pope to be elected since the Eighth Century.

And yet, in spite of the new pontiff’s origins, there will be many among the ecstatic crowds thronging the streets of Buenos Aries who harbour the deepest misgivings.

Just three years ago, when the Argentine legislature was debating its own Gay Marriage Bill, the then Cardinal Bergoglio denounced the measure in the most unequivocal terms.

In language which the Argentine President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, said reminded her of the Medieval Inquisition, Bergoglio declared:

“Let’s not be naive, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Behind the humble bus-rider of Vatican publicity; behind the warm grandfatherly smile; Francis I remains as much a prisoner of reactionary Catholic theology as John-Paul II and Benedict XVI.

And according to the research of Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s leading investigative journalists, Bergoglio’s reactionary beliefs are not confined to the issues of homosexuality, abortion and contraception. Francis I is also a political reactionary.

Forty-three years ago Argentina entered one of the darkest periods in its history. A military junta, having seized power from an unstable right-wing populist government, launched what came to be known as “The Dirty War”. Argentine Military Intelligence (itself deeply implicated in the process) estimated the number of Argentinians murdered, tortured, or simply “disappeared”, at 22,000. Civilian estimates put the toll much higher, at 30,000.

The Dirty War lasted seven years (1976-1983) and convulsed the whole of Argentinian society. The military strongman, General Jorge Rafael Videla, believed he was waging war not simply against left-wing revolutionaries and trade unionists, but against the whole tide of social and sexual liberation rolling out of the 1960s and early 70s.

And he had allies.

Hugh O’Shaughnessy has been reporting Latin American politics for 40 years. In the Guardian of 4 January 2011 he wrote:

“To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentine church contained many … [individuals] … who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal Western-supported military dictatorship which seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years.”

Reviewing Verbitsky’s book “El Silencio” (The Silence), O’Shaunghessy recounted how:

“The Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to choose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of [South] America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.”

That scandal has now occurred.

A scandal of which the College of Cardinals could not possibly have been ignorant, but which it considered of insufficient importance to prevent Bergoglio emerging as the “runner up” to Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) in the Conclave of 2005.

A scandal which, in a Catholic Church riven by so many scandals, was completely invisible to the College of Cardinals in 2013.

Even though, the Princes of the Church, gathered in Rome, had only to flip open their lap-tops and Google “Bergoglio” to learn from Wikipedia that:

“On 15 April 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 (during the military dictatorship) of two Jesuit priests. The priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, were found alive five months later, drugged and semi-nude. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says to his most trusted disciple:

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Maybe not, but with the elevation to the Papacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the gates of hell have come perilously close.

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7 Comments

  1. Rogue Trooper says:

    yep. Interesting times indeed (and very sad for many more to come)

  2. warlockoffiretopmountain says:

    thank you so much for an actual factual account about this pope as opposed to the blithering on all the other media channels, well done.

  3. ak says:

    Mmmmm…..yes a couple of reports from a couple of people 37 years ago….a wee worry indeed but in the absence of anything more, and bearing in mind the circs at the time and the record for accuracy of all media and particularly any single author, let’s allow some hope through.

    Focus instead on the influence of leaders of billions, consider the tandem tides of the Cultural Revolution and Vatican II with the West 60s-70s, and welcome the bold and instantaneous rejection of limousines, furs and ancient idolatry as a sign of signs.

    The decrepit and shallow reactionary brakes on progression are all fainting and retiring under the weight of their own patently-obvious failure. Hugo is dead: long live the humble, mumbling shearers and shepherds and a return to the higher path.

  4. Lucia Maria says:

    Chris, you might want to have a look at this Guardian article, which states:

    This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.

  5. Nick says:

    Chris, you seem mighty quick to Google out the “evidence”. I did the same and found accusations / refutations etc. Even other bits pointing to his active help for the victims. A very dark period, but where are the hard facts? If they are so “hard” why would the College of Cardinals go ahead and elect this man? They must have considered this, and given that the stakes are so high I suspect they have confidence in the mans integrity. I recall the Ratzinger “Hitler Youth” calls upon his election.

    I will await developments with interest.

  6. Chris Sullivan says:

    Chris,

    The Guardian has retracted part of their original story you quoted above :

    • This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/jan/04/argenitina-videla-bergoglio-repentance

    There is a little more to the case of the the torture of two of Bergoglio’s Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology :-

    Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them — including persuading dictator Jorge Videla’s family priest to call in sick so that he could say Mass in the junta leader’s home, where he privately appealed for mercy. His intervention likely saved their lives.

    Bergoglio — who ran Argentina’s Jesuit order during the dictatorship — told Rubin that he regularly hid people on church property during the dictatorship, and once gave his identity papers to a man with similar features, enabling him to escape across the border.

    Rubin said failing to challenge the dictators was simply pragmatic at a time when so many people were getting killed, and attributed Bergoglio’s later reluctance to share his side of the story as a reflection of his humility.

    It is certainly the case that there was once an unholy coalition of the wealthy, the military, and some of the Church leadership in South America. But it seems that Pope Francis was not personally embroiled in that nest of corruption.

    Regards

  7. Amanda says:

    Francis 1 merely continues the long established pattern of reactionary bigotry masquerading as so called leadership.Still give the modern papacy some credit- at least popes are no longer murdering and deposing each other while practising rampant simony as they used to.

    The procession of anti popes, strangled popes, and deposed popes through the centuries makes entertaining reading. My personal favourite is John XII who is reputed to have had a heart attack while in bed with a married woman.

    The wierdest of all though has to be Pope Formosus whose corpse was dug up and tried for heresy in the so called cadaver trial in 897.

    Caring for the poor and dispossesed and fighting for soial justice does not figure greatly in the history of the papacy.


 
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